Editor's note: This narrative was written by Frances Wood Haas mostly in 1973.
April 29, 1906 - Nov. 30, 1914
I had been sent to visit my grandmother and that Sunday night when I came home they told me there was a surprise for me. I remember walking down the long hall to the living room and there in a beautifully trimmed basket was a baby and Dad and Margaret and Prue and Grandma were all so happy. They said "This is your little brother" and when I asked to see Mama, they said she was resting.
I was just three that month myself but that is really my first and most exciting memory.
We grew up and played with Frank and George Graham, the only neighbor children we were allowed to associate with. Five years later Jack was born. I went to school at Mount. Mercy from kindergarten up - and those days a "wagonette" drawn by two horses, stopped at the door for me and took me to school and back home again. That was the best part of school. They took boys in the younger grades at that all girls school, and when he was six, Eugene went too.
He must have been a very lovable child because Mother never got over his early death. She talked about him for years - how he loved deeply and did so many endearing things.
Thanksgiving vacation came that year like all the others. We were happy and excited about school vacation and the turkey. We had the usual bountiful Thanksgiving dinner. It was marred a little for me because Eugene and I had been upstairs on the 3rd floor in Mother's sewing room and we quarreled. What about I never did remember, but one of us (most likely me) picked up a paper-weight and hurled it at the other. It missed and went sailing at the window and went through it, breaking the glass. You can imagine what a commotion that caused. Mother being very busy said she would deal with us later and that was not something to look forward to.
Well, we had dinner and right after Eugene was deathly sick at his stomach. I thought he had eaten too much turkey, but on Friday morning his temperature shot up to 104 and a rash appeared. It was Scarlet Fever! There was an epidemic about and Dad recalled later that the week before when he came home, before he had a chance to change his clothes, Eugene had hurled himself into his arms in a gusty greeting and that's where he may have picked up the bug.
Well, Jack and I were sent to Grandma's up on the hill near Greenfield where they had that old frame house where the wind whistled and gave me goose pimples. I have never liked the sound of gusty wind since. I can still see the rain pelting on the glass of the windows - and my tears falling as fast as the rain - when Grandma told us Eugene had died that Monday morning. Oh, the sadness and regrets! I still feel the agony that tore my young body. So fast- from Thursday to Monday and he was gone. We stayed at Grandma's until after the funeral and until the house was fumigated as they did after any contagious disease in those days. Eventually we went back and life went on; but nothing seemed the same. Mother and Dad - especially Mother - were so grief stricken. Christmas that year was the saddest I had ever known.
Dad would recall at a later time how Eugene would ask him every morning
- "What did the Germans to today, Dad?" World War I had broken out in
August the year before he died and in his small boy fashion, he favored
the Germans. None of us at that time dreaming the U. S. would become
involved. The following April 20, Ben was born, another child with a